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Democrats accuse Bolling of hypocrisy on federal stimulus funds

Anita Kumar

You have to hand it to Democrats. When they start a line of attack, they stick with it.

For months, they've been singling out Republicans across the nation who opposed the federal stimulus legislation but then welcomed the money.

Their latest target? Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

For well over a year, Bolling has been critical of the stimulus bills, calling them "massive federal spending bills that would result in the largest expansion of government in 40 years."

He said last year that the package "will balloon the size of the federal government and increase the federal debt dramatically, and it will do little to stimulate economic growth."

But last week, Bolling -- on behalf of Gov. Bob McDonnell -- touted $13.2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will be spent on 39 energy conservation projects proposed by local governments.

"Jobs will be the first dividend from these innovative programs and projects, but they also have the potential to save tax dollars and reduce energy costs for Virginians for years to come,'' said Bolling, who also serves as the state's chief jobs creation officer.

Cue the Democrats.

"Apparently, being chief job creation officer means taking credit for jobs that other people have created,'' said Jared Leopold, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia. "Bill Bolling should drop the double-talk and admit that the Recovery Act is creating jobs in Virginia. Just one year ago, Bolling said the Recovery Act 'was not a stimulus plan at all.' Virginians have to wonder, has he changed his mind? Or did he just think he could get away with hypocrisy?"

A spokeswoman for Bolling dismisses the accusations as "partisan name calling."

"The Lieutenant Governor is not going to engage in a game of partisan name calling with the Democrat Party. The challenges facing Virginia demand more of us than that,'' Bolling spokeswoman Ibbie Hedrick said. "We've always said that to the extent ARRA funds can benefit Virginia and Virginians we are glad to accept them and that has not changed. We believe that these grant programs can help local governments and consumers address legitimate energy needs and we have no objection to that."

In February, which marked the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act, the Democratic National Committee started targeting Republicans.

So far, more than 100 governors, members of Congress and others have made the Hypocrisy Hall of Fame, including McDonnell. Many are lawmakers who voted against the Recovery Act; Democrats accuse them of later taking credit for stimulus-funded projects in their districts.

McDonnell said during his campaign that he would accept federal stimulus money if elected, but Democrats have accused him of hypocrisy because he also criticized the stimulus as a candidate.

"It's good to see that Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling are coming around to recognize the relief that state budgets are seeing from the Recovery Act passed last year by the president and congressional Democrats,'' DNC spokesman Alec Gerlach said. "Though it would bring Virginians more comfort if Bob McDonnell was willing to set aside partisanship and stand up for a good idea when he sees it rather than rail against it as he did last year."

By Anita Kumar  |  March 31, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Robert F. McDonnell  
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It sure is nice to see President Obama's legislative victories being legitimized by the Republicans in Virginia's State House. I'm just not expecting them to come out and say they were wrong in opposing the ARRA, as they should, now that they are accepting the funds.

Too bad they couldn't have been more honest about it a year ago, instead of playing politics.

Posted by: BigDaddyD | March 31, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for the political theatre after the ARRA money runs out and the jobs disappear! That is going to be U G L Y.

Posted by: millionea7 | March 31, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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